Reluctantly stepping away from the dusty hallway that leads to a discussion of deverbal nouns, I give you the word "twig."
It's a stick, AND it's a verb that means "to understand."
Okay, maybe just one tiny step down that hallway: twig as a branchy bit of tree derives from Germanic Old English. It's related to the word "twain." As in, to be cleft in two.
Okay, okay, hustling it along: the verb twig comes either from theives' cant or from Gaelic (not pointing a finger, but come on, English scholars, really?!) "tuig," meaning "to understand."
Those enormous Adirondack camps, white birchbark stuff, bent willow rustic chairs? All twig.
I picked up a reference book on the subject at the library book sale over the winter and took the instructions at face value.
As one does.
I wanted to construct a couple of chairs for the gazebo, and the book had a nifty-looking pattern.
A folding twig chair based –– so the author claimed –– on a Hopi design. Rugged but comfortable, held together with metal rods that bend slightly to accommodate a rounded human form.
Heaven knows we have plenty of twigs at the Would-Be Farm. And a crafty project is right up the alley for the Farm's stated goal of helping foster fresh neural pathways.
Though it looked "funny" in print, I went ahead and cut the 37 or so pieces of wood –– carefully following the directions.
Precision is not my middle name, but I was quite careful.
It did not work.
At the end of Day 1, I sat on my heels and considered the challenge of threading eleven twigs onto a quarter-inch rod when the neatly bored holes simply did not line up –– by INCHES.
On the second day, following my favorite skipper/rough carpenter's advice, I started with fresh material and drilled holes to fit the threaded rods.
Ah, so much better!
Until it came to the question of legs.
A full 50% of the chair's legs left unaccounted for.
The diagram I'd been trying to follow simply did not mention how to incorporate the two back appendages.
I should not have been surprised.
Instructions that don't.
Measuring guides that don't.
Reference that isn't.
Eventually I wandered over to the square yard or so of good cell coverage at the Would-Be Farm –– in the middle of the field –– and Googled some help. Huh. Common theme of the Amazon reviews of the book:
A farther scouring of the inter web revealed many many distractions.
Yet, near the distal reach of the digital universe, a couple of nearly related YouTube videos and websites that at least helped me figure out how to get all four legs integrated into the design.
Day 2 ended when I tested the chair and inadvertently converted it into a recliner.
No blood no foul, but for pity's sake --!
It was so. darned. close. to being there.
Mr. Linton lent his good hand (short story: don't drop a Sunfish. And if you do, don't let your hand be caught underneath the fiberglass boat.) and practical cleverness to the effort. He was the one to suggest using the planks of the deck to square up the legs.
This time when I tested the rake of the chair-back, my own old quads suspended me.
Crouching builder, hidden sand-trap.
By gum, at the end of Day 3, we had ourselves a twig chair.
A bit battered. Not rated to hold an actual human. Handy for keeping my gardening gloves off the floor.
Still, it's a prototype suitable for the next round of construction.
And I can barely wait to begin again.